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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Searching for Modular Housing Gold

Recently Peg and I have been searching the Internet for information on a big purchase we hope to make soon. 

Complete Honesty: This is not Peg and I

Wow!, have things changed since the last time we searched it for information about a purchase this big. 

So far we have visited more than 20 sites and to be completely honest we were excited to spend time on some while others including the top brands were so bad we stopped looking at them as a possible purchase.

As you read what I discovered in my search, take a look a really hard look at your company’s website. Modular factories and modular builders could be doing so much better.

Many of the websites failed to showcase their brand by not using creative, quality and relevant visuals. Many small builders have websites that do little to showcase their brand. 

Several of the brands we liked before visiting their website proved to be disappointing when it came to telling their “story”. We were there to learn more about the brand but found little information about it. Hard to believe that a big company would put up a website and not tell their “story”.

A couple of the websites had us playing ‘hide and seek’ looking for the specific information we needed. One had us visit drop down menu after drop down menu until Peg said “forget it.” Please make your site easy to navigate or your new home buyers may also say ‘forget it’.

I learned quickly that not all requests for more information on the different websites provide adequate space for you to give specific information about why you are looking, when you are making a decision and other pertinent information. A couple of the larger company’s websites only had an email address to contact for more information which was quickly ignored by us.

And the websites that seemed to have a decent information  request form fell into two distinct categories; those that responded quickly and those that didn’t respond at all. Wake up, the reason you have a website is to get people to knock on your door and if you don’t answer it they will never darken it again.

Since it didn’t appear that many of the websites we visited have been updated for a while I began to wonder if it was because the job of updating was considered unimportant or maybe it is too hard to update. I know from personal experience with my website that sometimes what seems to be an easy update actually took me several hours of trial and error. Make updates no matter how tough it may seem.

Another thing I found quite interesting was after visiting a site their ad started showing up on my Facebook page, in my searches and even on their competitors websites as a pop-up. I swear Google could clone you just based on the websites you visit, the products you search for and the purchases you make online.

BTW, if you still have a heartbeat you probably have a smartphone. If your website isn’t mobile friendly...well damn! Almost 50% of searches start on a cell phone and if your website shows up looking clunky and outdated on a smartphone you may have lost their interest within the first 3 seconds which seems like 10 minutes in “Millennial Time.”

Stop looking amateurish! Most small business owners aren’t web designers, graphic artists or copywriters and your website can suffer when you upload images with poor pixelation, add too many graphics or buttons on a page making navigation difficult, make too many typos and provide poor content. 

Your website should not only reflect your company, but it also needs to resonate with your target audience. Here’s a hard but probably very necessary thing to do to improve your site. Ask your past customers AND your employees (anonymously) to rate your website and be prepared for some harsh criticism. If you are a modular home factory, you may need to invest in a lot of changes. If you are a modular builder, it just may reveal the need to invest in making your website better.

If you still have a banner on your website that says “Holiday Blowout Sale!” or a blog that hasn’t been added to since November 2014, it’s time to start giving your website some love. 

Your business is always growing and changing and your website should reflect the new products and homes you’ve recently built, great client reviews that prove your credibility or events, like Open Houses, that your customers should put on their calendars. 

Give your visitors reasons to visit your site often and establish loyalty. There is no telling when the email or phone call will arrive asking you for appointment to build their new home. And isn’t that what you wanted when you became a modular home builder?

2 comments:

Harris Woodward said...

Gary, we're wondering aloud if you surfed our website, and you filled out our form with a made-up phone and email. Sly dog, you.

Hey: you're in Maryland, and we're in Maryland. What kind of home would Peg like to build?

:-)

Craig Halliday said...

Gary - there is a lot of opportunity for manufacturers and their builder partners to invest in their websites (or even get one). They just need to have someone handle it and trust this person will protect the brand. It's not as expensive as they may think, and the reward can be great. I have the data to back it up from my previous time with a well-known company. The period was even during the financial crisis. Just imagine if these companies invested in lead generation/nurturing today.

I'll be glad to help anyone that wants it. This is a fun industry.